EWTN NEWS / REALCLEAR OPINION RESEARCH POLL: BIDEN’S POPULARITY DROPS AMONG CATHOLICS
Matthew Bunson | EWTN News
| July 11, 2022
In the latest poll, a majority of Catholics disapprove of the President’s job performance, believe the country is on the wrong track, and have serious concerns about gender ideology and attacks on churches and pregnancy centers.
President Joe Biden has lost ground among Catholics since the 2020 election, according to the findings of a new EWTN News/RealClear Opinion Research poll, and faces a lack of confidence among Catholics that his administration will be able to deal effectively with inflation over the next year.
The poll also found that a substantial majority of Catholics are less likely to vote for political candidates who support abortion until birth.
The new poll of likely Catholic voters, taken immediately before the release of the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, is the first of three planned surveys of Catholics likely to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. It surveyed 1,757 likely Catholics voters on faith and political and public-policy issues. The poll has a confidence interval of 2.58 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The poll was conducted online in English and in Spanish from June 15-23, 2022.
On the key indicator of voter concern – whether the country is on the right or wrong track – 59% of Catholics believe the country is on the wrong track, including 68% of White Catholics and 45% of Latino Catholics.
Catholics overall view Biden unfavorably but are evenly split in their support of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress in the upcoming election. Among all Catholics, Biden has a favorable rate of 45% versus 53% unfavorable. In October 2020, according to the last EWTN/RealClear poll, he was supported by 52% of Catholics in his head-to-head race against Donald Trump. Former President Donald Trump currently has a slightly higher rating among Catholic voters, with a 49-49% favorable versus unfavorable rating.
There is a very significant difference between the way White and non-White voters view President Biden. His approval rating among White Catholics is 36%, but it is 59% among Hispanic Catholics and 72% among Black Catholics.
Looking at Mass attendance as a predictor of how Catholics are likely to vote, there is not a significant difference among Weekly, Monthly, and Less than Yearly attending Catholics in their view of the president, with his approval rating at 43% among Weekly Catholics, versus 46% for both of the other categories. His job approval numbers are almost identical to his favorability, with Catholics overall giving him a 47% job approval versus 53% disapproval.
There is a very significant difference between the way White and non-White voters view President Biden. His approval rating among White Catholics is 36%, but it is 59% among Hispanic Catholics and 72% among Black Catholics. Mass attendance does not appear to correlate one way or the other in terms of approval levels for the President, with his approval rating at 43% among Weekly Catholics, versus 46% for both Monthly and Less than Yearly. His job approval numbers are almost identical to his favorability, with Catholics overall giving him a 47% job approval versus 53% disapproval.
When it comes to the pressing issue of inflation, 89% of Catholics have had their finances impacted a great deal or to some degree. Catholic voters are closely split on placing blame: 36% say Biden and his policies and 33% say the war in Ukraine and the global slowdown, while 25% say both equally. A majority of White voters hold Biden responsible (45% Biden, 28% Ukraine/slowdown), while Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to blame Ukraine and the global slowdown caused by the pandemic (41%) than Biden (21%). Nevertheless, a majority (57%) of all Catholic voters do not have much or any confidence that the Biden administration can significantly reduce inflation in the next year.
Inflation is one of the largest looming issues in the upcoming midterm elections, and right now, Catholic voters are evenly split between the parties as 44% indicate support for the Republican candidate in their district and 43% support the Democrat – with 13% unsure. There is, however, a difference among Catholics when looking at results broken out by how often they attend Mass. Weekly Mass attendees support the Republican candidate in their district by a margin of 47-41%, while those who attend Monthly or Yearly are split 43-42% Democrat and those who attend Less than Yearly or Never support the Democrat candidate 48-40%.
Respondents also rated the Supreme Court as the most favorably viewed federal institution, with an overall approval rate of 56% as opposed to 36% unfavorable.
On the major national policy debate over abortion law, the poll found the usual conflicting results that while a plurality of Catholics (47%-42%) favored upholding Roe v. Wade, a solid majority (82%) supported ending abortion outright or imposing various regulations to limit it which would be forbidden under Roe. Only 18% expressed the opinion that abortion should be available to a woman for any reason at any time during her pregnancy.
On the question of parental consent for girls under the age of 18 for an abortion, 68% of Catholics believe this should be required, and 65% of all respondents acknowledged that abortion conflicts with Catholic teaching.
The poll found that 60% of Catholics would be less likely to support a political candidate who supports abortion until birth, compared to only 32% who said this would make them more likely to support a candidate. As for other factors that impact how Catholics weigh their upcoming vote for Congress, 68% indicate that their faith is either very (37%) or somewhat (31%) important in their decision-making process.
Catholics are also more likely to support a candidate who promotes religious freedom (82%) and increasing border security (74%).
A massive majority of Catholics (90%) believe that parents of K-12 students should have more information about the curriculum and what their children are being taught in school, while 65% believe that parents of K-12 students should have greater say in what is in their children’s school curriculum.
Significant Catholic concerns extend into the issue of transgender ideology. Catholics are closely split (47-42% in favor) on the question of whether teachers and administrators should recognize a student’s gender identity in school rather than their biological sex at birth, but a substantial majority (68%-20%) oppose allowing K-12 school administrators hide a student’s gender identity or a new name from that student’s parents.
A substantial majority (63%) of Catholics agrees that gender is created by God, rather than determined by individuals (25%). And when transgender ideology is defined – namely that everyone can determine their own gender and that everyone else [individuals, laws, and institutions] should be required to treat them as their chosen gender as opposed to their biological sex, 56% of Catholics agree that it conflicts with Church teaching. Strong majorities of Catholics are opposed to biological boys competing against biological girls in sports (67-22%) or sharing bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers (67-23%).
Catholics are also worried about vandalization and attacks on churches (84%) and pro-life clinics (81%), tearing down statues of famous Catholics (75%), the overall anti-Christian sentiment in the country (72%), and protests outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices (71%).
Meanwhile, Catholic devotional practices are largely unchanged since our 2020 EWTN News RealClear Opinion Research polls. Overall, 20% of Catholics accept all of the teachings of the Church, 35% accept most of the Church’s teachings, and the rest do not accept some of the key teachings, say it has only a minor influence on their lives, or consider themselves to be former Catholics. The survey also found 33% of Catholics attending Mass once a week and 14% attending Mass once or twice a month. Only 37% of Catholics go to Confession at least monthly or yearly, while 35% never go. When it comes to the Eucharist, 50% believe in the Real Presence, 38% see the bread and wine as mere symbols, and 12% don’t know; those numbers are essentially the same from 2020. Regarding prayer, 82% of Catholics pray weekly or more and 26% say the rosary once a week or more. And, 65% of Catholics believe in Purgatory and 77% believe in Hell.
Future EWTN News/RealClear polls will continue to track Catholic voters as the general elections draw nearer, gauge the impact of the Dobbs decision, and probe other important issues dealing with the economy, our schools, our families, and our faith.